September 06, 2012

The Russian and United States Governments have agreed to commence implementation of a simplified process to facilitate application for business, private, humanitarian or tourist visas.

What’s Changed?¬†

Pursuant to ongoing negotiations between both countries, by September 9, 2012 the primary changes at both Russian and U.S. consular posts are to be as follows:

  1. Most visitor visa applications will be processed within 15 calendar days of filing. For truly urgent-need cases, applications may be processed within three business days.
  2. Applicants may apply for visitor visas valid for up to three years with multiple-entry status permitting stays of up to six consecutive months, per entry. Currently, most visitor visas are issued for duration of stay of only 90 consecutive days, per entry.
  3. For visitor visa applications filed on or after September 9th, official invitation letters issued by either country’s foreign ministries should no longer be required. However, consular posts always reserve their discretion to request any supporting documentation confirming the applicant’s reason for travel and evidencing proof of sufficient funds.
  4. In instances when a U.S. traveler loses his or her passport in Russia, an exit visa should no longer be required provided the U.S. Consulate issues an official U.S. emergency passport.
  5. Russian and U.S. citizens will be permitted to apply for these extended validity visitor visas at all Russian and U.S. consular posts throughout the world.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS 

As negotiations between each country’s foreign ministries are continuing to establish specific application requirements, it is hoped that application protocols and processing times will be greatly streamlined to facilitate ease of business travel between both countries.

For the immediate, foreseeable future, U.S. companies and U.S. national employees are strongly urged to work with their Russian immigration suppliers to confirm availability of these visas and application protocols at a particular Russian consular post.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by Glenn Faulk, Senior Manager, Knowledge Management. Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM Correspondent Office in Russia to provide you this update.